South Dakota's governor vetoes loosening
of concealed carry gun laws
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[March 18, 2017]
By Tom James
(Reuters) - South Dakota's Republican
Governor Dennis Daugaard on Friday vetoed a pair of bills that would
have loosened restrictions on carrying concealed guns in the state,
after saying current laws made sense and were adequate.
One measure would have allowed carrying concealed weapons in the state
without a permit. The second proposed allowing carriers of an enhanced
permit to carry concealed weapons at the state capitol.
South Dakota bars convicted felons and those convicted of some violent
or drug crimes from obtaining a concealed weapons permit.
Eleven U.S. states allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a
permit, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a
gun-control advocacy group. Another 39, including South Dakota, allow
concealed carry with a permit.
In a letter accompanying one of the vetoes, Daugaard, who had previously
pointed to his own membership in the National Rifle Association,
defended the state's existing concealed weapons laws as reasonable.
"I am unaware of a single instance in which a person who could lawfully
possess a gun was denied a permit to carry a concealed pistol," Daugaard
wrote. By comparison, he added, two counties in the state have turned
down nearly 600 permit applicants "who were disqualified due to mental
illness or due to violent or drug-related crimes."
The veto echoed statements Daugaard made in a Feb. 11 editorial in the
Rapid City Journal, in which he said he viewed the state's laws as
"effective, appropriate and minimal." Daugaard also vetoed a similar
proposal loosening concealed-carry standards in 2012.
Rep. Lee Qualm, who sponsored the proposal relaxing the state capitol
restrictions, called the vetoes "frustrating," and said in a phone
interview on Friday that he would try to override them when the
legislature returns from recess March 27. An override requires a
two-thirds majority in South Dakota, and Qualm said both bills were only
a handful of votes short of that threshold in both chambers.
[to top of second column]
Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota listens to
remarks during a discussion at the National Governors Association
Winter Meeting in Washington, February 23, 2014. EUTERS/Mike
Rep. Lynne Disanto, sponsor of the broader of the two bills, did not
respond to calls or emails seeking comment.
The bills' failure at the hands of a Republican governor pointed to
a divide in his party over the regulations. Neither bill received
full Republican support in either chamber, and the statewide measure
was opposed by about one in five Republicans in the House and one in
three in the Senate.
(Reporting by Tom James in Seattle; Editing by Patrick Enright and
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